The holidays are coming and you know what that means. It means that this year’s trendy new toy is going to disappear from store shelves faster than a Snickers bar in Aretha Franklin’s house. If you get left out in the cold (and your child just may literally lock you out in the cold if he sees you returning from Toys R Us without his game of choice) consider the alternative to this year’s hottest and most popular toys and games. Consider a classic.
Now, I’m not guaranteeing that your child won’t throw a total tantrum or have a meltdown at first. It may take until Christmas afternoon or the last day of Hanukkah for him to give an older toy or game a chance. But if you choose wisely, he may just forgive you by New Year.
As a parent, you probably already know that there is much truth in the saying “they don’t make ’em like they used to” when it comes to toys. There are many toys that you might remembering enjoying in your youth, but that are sadly just not the same today. Here are some I would steer away from:
–Sit and Spin. Today’s model just doesn’t have the same feel. Many parent reviewers have called it cheaply made.
–The Game of Life. The spinner no longer has that satisfying feeling or makes that gratifying sound as it spins around. In fact, it hardly spins at all. It keeps bouncing off and flying across the room. Perhaps I got a defective version?
—Alphie. This updated learning robot is actually quite sturdily made, but he is annoying for other reasons. He asks questions so slowly, some preschoolers don’t have the patience to wait for him to finish asking, before they start pushing all the buttons like maniacs. Okay, I admit it, my preschoolers do this. I really can’t speak for anyone else’s. What I can say confidently, though, is that the new plastic, lighted buttons are not as much fun to the fingers as the old, flat rubbery-feeling ones were.
So what are some classic toys that your child might enjoy? Model trains are always a hit. Assembling a quality train set, together as a family, is probably less stressful than assembling those darn tree lights. Most children also love to build. There is a great variety of blocks–both simple and interconnecting– to choose from, for all age ranges. Lego is still really popular, although some sets are expensive. A small Toy Story 3 Lego set can cost over $40. Kids also like crafts. Don’t discount all the fun gifts you can pick up at an art store, like child-safe paint, pastels, kits, models, and clay.
Finally, there is always Play-Doh. Come on, you know that while you are complaining about how you are never going to be able to scrape it out of your rug, you secretly love the unique smell of it almost as much as you do those cinnamon scented pine cones you picked up at the craft store. Play-Doh has the power to transport you back to your childhood. It can also be squeezed in your hand like a stress-relieving device, after your child hands it back to you declaring that he doesn’t want to play with it anymore because all the colors got smushed together.